After some days of painful deliberation, an online shopping cart I emptied and re-filled ten times with slightly different gear specs, and a shipping mistake that cost me two more business days, I have finally levelled up.
I opted for some bonus side-quests on the way in order to turn out really geeky-hardcore, and got a Samsung 840 Pro
(instead of vanilla) and a GTX 660 Ti
(again, instead of vanilla).Good:
The gaming performance is impeccable. The card drives my monitor at its native resolution with no problems at all, I believe I can max out all my games. Twice the performance, yet power draw is the same as that of my GTX 460 SE! I even received a nice free t-shirt with the videocard (black with a bright green NVidia logo and text). Overall, I am very satisfied with this purchase.
I also installed my new ROCCAT Kone XTD laser mouse, and it's great. I love it so far.
As for the SSD, production applications like Photoshop or FL Studio load much faster and keep me waiting less, but nothing is instantaneous. OS functionality (such as opening Programs and Features, and waiting for the list to populate) is easily 10 times faster, and I'm sure I'd notice an even bigger difference if I explicitly benchmarked this thing synthetically. Also worth noting: the average time Windows spends on contemplation immediately after logging in
has been reduced from 30 seconds to about 3. (Non-scientific estimations
. These are all things that never really bothered me.) Sadly, the speed came at a cost
, but I'll get to that in a minute.Bad:
The videocard is long. It's not just long-long, it's black-man's-penis-long. Even longer than my old 8800 GT, and nearly a full inch longer than my previous card, the GTX 460 SE. Because I have a standard cheap ATX case and didn't want to spend even more on this ordeal, I chose to walk the sacrificial path and removed the eldest of my hard drive triumvirate to make room. It was a 250 GB Western Digital, and at this point, it was only spun up once a month to store a full system backup, anyway. I'll put my backups someplace else in the future. The remaining two drives (a 500 GB Seagate I use for games, and a 1 TB Samsung I use for media and everything else) were moved down to the bottom of the case, and the SSD found its place just above the videocard (right under the DVD burner), so the videocard -- barely -- fits in between now. My case is now officially a compressed mess of tight-fitting hardware and a random jungle of cables. I was never good with this sort of thing. Maybe a larger tower would make a difference.Ugly:
I wasn't in the mood to reinstall anything, so I set out to do what I had already done a few times before, which is to clone the system disk
(to the SSD) and carry on from there. To my dismay, Acronis True Image no longer supports cloning disks in the latest (2013) trial version, and a pirated version didn't actually work
, so I defaulted to the freeware EaseUS
Partitiwhatever Magic Doohickey. Surprisingly, this did the job. Or it appeared to, anyway, because the bootloader was skinned and fried alive in the process. I did not despair, I've seen this before: just pop in the Windows 7 install disc, and a very quick repair tool run will mend the ravaged boot manager in almost no time at all. Indeed, after a reboot, Windows successfully greeted me again with all my programs and settings, except one small but very important aberration: Windows Backup and Restore no longer works. At all.
Clicking its Control Panel link flashes the hourglass
loading ring on the cursor for a split second, and then nothing happens. The Backup and Restore window simply doesn't appear. No error, no response, and an internet search came up with nothing. Stopping and restarting the respective system services -- Volume Shadow Copy and Windows Backup -- had no effect. I even ran a system file check
(url) twice, which found nothing wrong. This lengthy torture cost me hours upon hours of time and misery, as my projected 1 hour PC fix-it session turned to 8, in two parts, with necessary sleep in between.Moral of the story:
the SSD upgrade gave me a bump in startup performance and a minor improvement in general system performance, but at the cost of irreversibly breaking a part of the OS that I actually relied on. I regret buying it.All this brings us to the following issue:
I imagine an eventual upgrade to Windows 8 would solve this problem and fill in all the holes. However, I already made my opinion public on the topic of that OS. If anyone reads this, I hereby ask for advice on some free and reliable system backup software to replace the broken functionality.